Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Psalm 23 (For the Work Place)

Got this in the mail some time back and have saved a copy on my workstation, thought I should share it with you.

The Lord is my real boss, and I shall not want.
He gives me peace, when chaos is all around me.
He gently reminds me to pray and do all things
without murmuring and complaining.

He reminds me that He is my source and not my job.
He restores my sanity everyday and guides my decisions
that I might honor Him in all that I do.

Even though I face absurd amounts of e-mails, system crashes,
unrealistic deadlines, budget cutbacks, gossiping co-workers,
discriminating supervisors and an aging body that doesn't cooperate
every morning, I still will not stop--- for He is with me!
His presence, His peace, and His power will see me through.

He raises me up, even when they fail to promote me.
He claims me as His own, even when the company threatens to let me go.
His Faithfulness and love is better than any bonus check
His retirement plan beats any 401k there is!

When it's all said and done, I'll be working for Him a whole lot longer and for that,

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Smile please!!!

Have been suffering from a big writer's block and was also traveling a bit so have not blogged in days. It took a scrap from Gayatri that brought me back!!!! Thanks Gayatri.

Of late here is something that never fails to bring a smile to my face every time...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Musical Tag!

Saw this on Lemonade's page and couldn't resist. Don't have an Ipod, my W810 did the job and boy was I surprised with the results.

So, here are the rules of the tag

1. Put your iPod (or other source of music) on shuffle mode.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. You must write the name of the song no matter what. No cheating!

If you think that you can judge my taste in music with this, you are in for a surprise!!!!

Here it goes....

"If someone says 'Is this okay?', you say?"
Livin’ la vida loca – OST Shrek

Wish it were true, life of late is so monotonous that some excitement will surely help

"What would best describe your personality?"
Scatman’s world – Scatman

“.. If you wanna break free, you better listen to me, you got to learn how to see in this fantasy…” Hmmm maybe I should try

"What do you like in a guy/girl?"
Lady in red – Chris de burgh

”..never seen you looking so lovely as you did tonight…” D on our wedding day (among other days)

"How do you feel today?"
Numb – Linkin Park

Spot on!!! Wonders will never cease

"What is your life's purpose?"
Pretty Woman – Roy Orbison

I have found her, so basically this one is done.

"What is your motto?"
Every thing about you – Ugly kid Joe

No comments. (For my good health).

"What do your friends think of you?"
A groovy kind of love – Phil Collins

Yup, just last week, one did something that nearly got me in trouble.

"What do you think of your parents?"
Angel - Shaggy

God couldn’t be here, so he sent his angels

"What do you think about very often?"
The tide is high – Atomic Kitten

“ … the tide is high, but I’m holding on…” Tough job that!

"What is 2+2?"
Informer - Snow

As you like it. (Not the play)

"What do you think of your best friend?"
The Reason - Hoobastank

Thanks to my best friend(s). It is true.

"What do you think of the person you like?"
It’s all because of you – 98 degrees

Lightning strikes twice! Wow!

"What is your life story?"
Always – Bon Jovi

Well if it wasn’t then, it is now.

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"
Knocking on heaven’s door – Led Zeppellin & Pink Floyd

Not a bad thing to do is it?

"What do you think when you see the person you like?"
Man in the mirror – MJ, His royal highness

Not related actually, but one of the most profound songs by the King.

"What do your parents think of you?"

I just called to say I love you – Stevie Wonder

Thanks ma, pa.

"What will you dance to at your wedding?"
Billie Jean – MJ, His Highness again

With my two left feet, I didn’t try anything silly, but a gr8 song if you can do the moon walk.

"What will they play at your funeral?"
More than words – Extreme

Not a bad choice is it?

"What is your hobby/interest?"

The Actor – MLTR

I wish….not a bad choice is it?

"What is your biggest secret?"
Can you feel the love tonight – Elton John OST Lion King

It isn’t a secret anymore is it?

"What do you think of your friends?"
You drive me crazy – Shakin’ Stevens

Ha ha ha! Sometimes they do.

"What should you post this as?"
Complicated Heart - MLTR

Complicated mind maybe….

I tag everyone who wishes to take this. Be a sport, it is fun. Leave a comment so that I can check!!!


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Just take a drive!

This post was spurred from a comment I left on Aarthi’s post. Though the intents of both our posts are as far removed as chalk and cheese that converge on the flimsiest premise like the letter C; in the case of our posts they converge on traffic.

I have written a few posts on traffic because bad driving is something that makes my blood boil in a jiffy. But coming to Aarthi’s post, she was writing about being denied the privilege of driving by her dad. I am guilty too, no, I don’t have a grown up girl as yet, but I try to deny D the opportunity to drive alone. It is fine when I am in the navigator seat but otherwise it has been a no-no till date. Not chauvinistic or anything, in fact I am actually an admirer of Alisha Abdullah and look forward to maybe seeing her drive the wheels of a car too on our to be launched F1 track someday soon. But please note that the operative word is tracks, I do not advocate anyone, man or woman to drive for pleasure on our city roads. Drive, if you must only because you find no other means to commute but not for pleasure unless it is late in the night. I have heard from quite a few cab drivers who have opted for outstation driving or call centre night shuttles simply because the day time city driving was stressing them out no end.

I discovered the joy of 4 wheels in 2004 when I bought my first set of 4 wheels courtesy an advance from Dad. From an estimated 500 kms a month, I easily average three times that today, but only for my office commute and business calls. The joy on wheels part was discovered partly thanks to Dave (who writes in the guise of Mr. Poplatho), who accompanied me on our many night drives to various spots in the city and my college mate Neil who had a hobby of finding new routes to any destination during our Loyola days. Now that kind of driving is bliss and worth fighting for. No bad / aggressive / rude / drivers, no parking problems, no blaring horns, no heart stopping near misses of cyclists, bikers, pedestrians and the neighbourhood cows sneaking in between the car and occasionally leaving their autograph on steel behind. Just the feel of cool air on you (if you will spare the aircon and opt for the real thing); the exhilaration of burning a microscopic (remember we are not driving F1 cars)bit of rubber on the roads and maybe just dragging a little bit too; the happiness of seeing the usual speedo trying to reach three figures momentarily; the adventurous can try wheel spins too just to bring out the kid in you, before you turn in for the day. Next day and the real you awakens!

PS: I don’t let D drive alone, because I fear the other drivers more than her driving skills which are reasonably good. I fear that should something happen, my absence would hurt her more than the incident itself.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Random notes from Hyderabad

I used to think that the word FINAL meant the last. So when someone says the final XYZ, it means that there is simply no more XYZ. I guess its time that somebody explains the meaning of the word to those illiterate announcers on the PA system in the airports. My effort to read the Economic Times was interrupted no less than six times with the following public service message: “This is the final boarding call for passengers traveling on flight number XYZ to ZYX, you are requested to proceed for boarding, I repeat this is the final call…”. When this scenario (min six final calls) replays for every flight that took off in the one hour I had to wait for my delayed flight, you can understand that something is wrong somewhere.

The Rajiv Gandhi International airport, Shamshabad is a stunning airport and you can’t help but feel impressed by the massive structure that rises up in the middle of nowhere. Please note that it is in the middle of NOWHERE. It is one big glass and metal structure. While the spanking new airport does awe you with it size, the sheer size makes you to walk forever to reach the exit. It gets worse once you reach the exit; remember you are in the middle of nowhere. The shuttle services that ply to the city allowed me to sleep for over an hour in relative comfort and yet I did not reach the city. Maybe they could use the Begumpet airport for short haul flights to the new airport now that it is nothing more than an extra large playing field for the Hyderabad Dynamos.

Saw an absolute riot of an ad today in Hyderabad, actually saw two. First of course is the spoof ad by Sprite of the silly Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone and SRK ad that made me scratch my head the first time I saw it. Who is more silly – the ad maker or the actors farcing it? Sprite has put the ad in its rightful place. But the ad in question is simply one of the best spoofs of a masala movie with family sentiments you can get. It has the tag line, Ranjan aur Mano ka baap kab aayega? Don’t miss this ad for the DLF IPL, it is the best of all the ads they have made till date.

Been to Hyderabad thrice already and have seen very little of the city except for the Hussain Sagar and the massive statue in it. Did see the Charminar from the aeroplane, but was unable to see it close up. When I enquired about it from a friend living there, she nonchalantly replied that it is nothing much, just an old building with four pillars!!! So much for history.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Mobile woes!

Remembered an ad of Idea where AB Jr. in the guise of the village headman says that henceforth everyone will be called by his / her mobile number. The ad had a powerful underlying message preaching abolishing casteism with subtle humour. I enjoy watching those ads every time.

But this post is not about casteism, it is about the number highlighted in the picture, my alias almost. I have been using this number for the last 6 years, and at a time when people change their boyfriends / girlfriends with the same speed they change their sims I have remained faithful to my number. I still remember my first phone I bought in Coimbatore, a Nokia 5110 (remember the model?), ok some of you may have been in primary school then so I permit you the memory lapse. Many phones have come and gone from Nokia to Motorola to Sagem to Sony Ericcson but 9840080405 has been an extension of me. I don’t know what is so special about the number, but I do remember vaguely that when the girl who sold me the connection offered a list of so called “fancy” numbers this was not popular as it totaled to 8. Just to be rebellious and to show that I’m not superstitious I took it though I generally do not like odd numbers. There was a time when my job dictated that I switch to Cheeka’s brand (the pug in the earlier Hutch ad was a female pup called so), but even then I had two numbers 9884480405 and 9840080405. I was looked upon as someone big to have two phones back then but now I know how commonplace and painful it can be.

So why this post today? Actually I have been frustrated to the point of changing my number by the customer service of my mobile phone company. You may have spotted that I use Airtel and Airtel has been ranked as the most innovative telecom company by Business Today in their latest issue for outsourcing all their non core activities. I think its time that somebody called up Mr. Sunil Mittal and told him that customer care is CORE to his business. The bottom line is that the customer care simply SUCKS! If you have his number do send it to me, I have a good mind to call him myself

I have endured so many false commitments and non resolutions of complaints despite being under the protection of TRAI guidelines. The modus operandi of the customer care is very simple:
1) Get one very badly trained officer to handle your call
2) After hearing your complaint promise a resolution in 48 hours (as mandated by TRAI)
3) If you become demanding, subtly disconnect the call
4) Send you a message asking you if you are satisfied with the interaction and giving you a reference number (as mandated by TRAI). They forget to give you recourse if you are not satisfied.
5) After 72 hours if you invariably find that your problem is not resolved then you call them again and the iteration resumes at step 1.
6) If you ask to speak to a superior you will be probably directed to mail to 121@airtelindia.....
7) If you do mail to the id, you will get a vague mail extolling why they think customer care is very important and give you another Here we Go round the Mulberry bush.

The final straw that broke the camel’s back (actually I have a severe back ache from yesterday, thankfully not from Airtel) is when I find that my Dad’s caller tune was arbitrarily changed by Airtel. When I called customer care Here we go round … started all over again.

I thought that I might as well blow up another 15 bucks and after diligently searching their painful and extremely slow website I managed to get the direct dialing code for the classic Tamil song. I dial that to find that I get their painful IVRS which bills you 3 Rs/min and will test your patience by at least 20 minutes before you find your song. Obviously they make more money when you go through the caller tune IVRS then when you try other means. Simply put it they make Chennai auto drivers look like angels.

This post is nothing more that a simple release of all the frustration that has been building up in me since January08. I remember vaguely the day when someone called me and said that owing to my long standing relationship and my bill payment history I am being given the status of a platinum customer, meaning I get to bypass the painful IVRS on dialing 121 and will be able to talk to the officer directly. It was a really wonderful New Year gift but it lasted only till my next call when I got the IVRS. For two months I had to fight with them and finally after threatening to go to the consumer forum I got this privilege, frivolous though it may be. Last week when I called 121 I got the IVRS and when I asked the officer I was told that I am in the Gold category based on my bill payment. Several calls and heated arguments later one officer conceded that I was a Platinum client till February but since then I have been downgraded based on my “billing history”. In a space of 30 days and despite paying my bills I get downgraded!!

I am still in a running argument with Airtel and I have decided that I will not rest till I get some redressal. I have mailed the nodal officer who apparently will only work on week days and has switched off her phone today. I am writing this public that you may know and maybe will support me. I am approaching the print media and maybe one of the many news starved TV channels if they will care to hear me out.

Wish me luck!